Sunday, July 22, 2007


I knew a bunch of guys who looked forward to a second tour in Vietnam. Everyone of them was nuts.

I meet Rudy when I was teaching some junior college courses on a Navy warship in the early 80's. He was a mustang Lieutenant who had been a bosun's mate for a few years before he got a commission as an LDO (Limited Duty Officer). He told me a story about one such guy, a Gunners Mate who did 8 tours between 63 and 75 (some of them 6 month tours shipboard, most of them in-country). He was an early advisor, spent some time on PBR's, was part of Operation Phoenix, spent a tour on a tincan on the Gunline, etc, etc. A regular John Wayne in blue.

In 1975 he and Rudy (a BM1 at the time) who were on the fo'c's'le (the forward portion of the main deck) of a ship that had just sent some swimmers in to plant explosives on a bunch of river boats that we'd abandoned. Not to let them fall into the hands of the evil commies, Rudy and the Gunners Mate watched them from a distance as they started exploding.

The Gunners Mate turned to Rudy with actual tears in his eyes and said, "It's over Rudy. The war's over. What the hell we gonna do now?"

Yes, there are men who can't think of anything better to do than blow stuff up and kill people. We need those men when it's time for war. But we really don't need to pay attention to what they think.

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